SB 1.1 - The sacrifice done by the sages

Once in the forest of Naimiṣāraṇya, great sages headed by Śaunaka assembled to perform a thousand year sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Lord and His devotees. They performed the sacrifice also to attain the planet of the Supreme Lord. Brahmā, the engineer of this universe, contemplated a great wheel which could enclose the universe. The hub of this great circle was fixed at the place of Naimiṣāraṇya, where the performances of sacrifice would curtail the strength of the demoniac. The devotees offer sacrifices for the pleasure of Lord Viṣṇu. Anything done for any reason other than the pleasure of the Lord causes bondage to the material world.

The sages perform sacrifice to do good to the people in general, which would bring about peace and prosperity. Lord Viṣṇu is like a great tree, and all others including the demigods, men, Siddhas, Cāranās and other living beings are like branches, twigs and leaves of the tree. By pouring water on the root of the tree, all the parts of the tree are automatically nourished. Human society, when it is detached from the Personality of Godhead like detached branches and leaves, is not capable of being watered. Thus all the plans of the atheistic leaders to bring about peace and prosperity are baffled at every step. In this age, the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the prescribed method to worship the Lord, and the intelligent persons engage in such a sacrifice to bring about real peace and prosperity.

In the beginning, Śaunaka and other sages were attached to sakāma-karma, and thus performed sacrifice to attain Svarga (svargāya lokāya). However, after hearing and contemplating various Purāṇas and other scriptures from Romaharṣaṇa, they became inquisitive about spiritual life. By association with Sūta Gosvāmī they developed a small taste of bhakti. Then their inquisitiveness became weakened and performance of sacrifice for attaining Svarga became false. The power of bhakti is indicated by the cessation of their attachment to prescribed duties which arose in them from hearing Bhāgavatam. Svargāya lokāya also means the abode of the Lord who is glorified in Svarga.